Times Have Changed
So Have Cruises
Dan and I went on our first cruise in June of 2000 - it was a two-week trip. We visited Baltic Sea cities like Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Stockholm. On days at sea, we attended financial planning seminars, but there were other planned activities.
The ship held 900 guests. There were formal meals, one buffet, and nightly entertainment. The rooms were spacious, comparatively speaking.
The shore excursions included walking tours and visiting places of interest, like Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway.
And The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark.
For me, the highlight of that trip was the two days we spent in St. Petersburg, Russia. We visited the State Hermitage Museum, gorgeous palaces, and exquisite churches. What we saw was spectacular. As I recall, there were few places to buy souvenirs and numerous awe-inspiring places to visit.
We went to the British Isles, the Caribbean, and Alaska, on other cruises. All were similar in size and experience.
But, the recent trip to Alaska didn’t mirror those earlier memories, and I couldn’t figure out why. After thinking it over, though, this is what I concluded.
There were over 3,000 people on the ship, plus the staff. Because the weather was cloudy and cool, people stayed inside. There was no room in the fitness center to use the equipment. The food courts were noisy and packed.
We did our best to find quiet places and work on art projects.
The planned activities were non-stop.
I wasn’t interested in playing trivia games or bingo, watching magic shows, or learning line dancing, but enjoyed the Zumba class, the music, and several evening shows.
Food and drinks were available 24/7-restaurants, buffets, bars, and dining rooms.
I can’t imagine how much food went to waste - or waist. We found a small International Buffet and went early. That way, we avoided the crowds and managed to eat less.
The health of some passengers saddened me. Many were overweight and needed wheelchairs, walkers, or canes to get around.
I couldn’t help but wonder if their choices would help them age well. Not only that but we came back with COVID.
The shore trips focused on souvenirs and spending money.
We took two shore excursions; one was not worth the money, and the other very enjoyable - but they were all about buying things from jewelry to salmon.
I felt like this cruise focused on quantity rather than quality and on making as much money as possible. The earlier voyages had a different intent - one that suited me better. Yes, cruises have changed - or maybe it’s me.
P. S. We got the best-smoked salmon on this street in Ketchikan. Have you ever heard of picked kelp cucumber? I’m here to tell you that a delicious snack is a cracker, cream cheese, kelp cucumber, and smoked salmon.
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